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TLT summer course encourages Elon faculty to use flipped instruction

74907741_c2d59deb64_bFlipped instruction is a teaching approach that has gained prominence over the last couple of years. Using the flipped method, teachers expose their students to content outside the classroom, so in-class time can be used for more engaging exercises and activities. This summer, a group of Elon faculty members explored the flipping method with a Moodle course through the Teaching and Learning Technologies (TLT) department to see how this kind of teaching could be applied to their classrooms.

The flipped course

This course was a self-paced series in which faculty members learned about flipped instruction and how to incorporate its techniques effectively. Over five weeks, TLT facilitators released modules that taught the different elements of a flipped classroom, including: how to find or create out-of-class content, how to asses a student’s comprehension of that content and how to help students apply that knowledge in the classroom.

Each faculty member finished the course with a fully-functional plan to flip some aspect of a course they would teach in the fall. Several professors created videos for their students to view at home. The videos were paired with Moodle quizzes to evaluate the students’ understanding of the material. That made class time available for labs and any additional questions from the previous night’s material.

Another professor planned to use a web application to provide articles that her students could annotate online as they read at home. This, the professor hoped, would allow her writing-based course to focus on sharpening her students’ writing skills in class.

In addition, the faculty members who participated in the course applied for mini-grants from TLT and the Academic Technology and Computing Committee (ATACC). These grants provided the necessary software and hardware to implement their flipped instruction plans in their courses.

Feedback from faculty

After completing the course, faculty took a survey, which reflected the group’s positive experiences learning how to flip their courses. When asked if they would recommend flipped instruction to a colleague, all replied affirmatively.

“I would recommend the class because it made me aware of resources and techniques that I would not likely have discovered on my own,” one participant said. “I liked the opportunity to meet with the [TLT facilitator] for an individual feedback session as well.”

While these faculty members had a satisfactory experience flipping their classrooms, some educators are still tentative about incorporating this approach in their own teaching. However, one of the participant emphasized that flipped instruction isn’t about altering everything about teaching; it’s about creating a more effective environment for the student to learn.

“I think it’s important to emphasize that this is not a radical rethinking of the teacher’s role,” the participant said.  “It can come off like lecturing is antiquated. [But] flipping can be just pieces, or specific exercises.  It doesn’t have to be a complete rethinking of education, but an additional tool in the professorial arsenal.”

More flipping this fall

Be on the lookout in the upcoming weeks for our profiles on the Elon faculty members who completed the flipped instruction course and how they’re adapting to this method of teaching.

If you’re interested in learning how to use flipped instruction in your course, contact Teaching and Learning Technologies at 336.278.5006 or tlt@elon.edu to schedule an individual consultation.

Image by Flikr user dcJohn / CC BY 2.0

Casey Brown

Casey Brown

Casey Brown is the Writing Intern for Technology with Elon University's Teaching and Learning Technologies Department.

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